After the year we had, it's no wonder we all wanted to show 2020 the door. Some, excited to turn the page on an extremely difficult year, may be building up 2021 as the end-all-be-all. For others, a new year may bring anxiety due to uncertainty about what lies ahead. Which ever your outlook, managing your expectations may be the key to a truly happy 2021.
If we learned one thing in 2020, it was how many things are truly out of our control. In 2021, try focusing on things you can control. For instance, you may not be able to go to the gym (or feel comfortable doing so), but you can take a walk or run outside. You can't control if you get sick, but you can make all of your physical and screening appointments. Your big medical conference may be canceled, but you can still take CME on MOCINGBIRD. Small, deliberate actions can give you back a sense of control.
Define What Matters
It's easy to dwell on things that don't go our way - like a canceled trip or concert. However, doing so for a prolonged time can eventually take a toll on your well-being. Experts advise taking stock of your life and define (or redefine) what matters most and focus on those things or people.
Stay in the Moment
If you're the type of person who likes to plan ahead, this may come as a challenge. However, now more than ever, we don't know what the next few weeks and months may hold. Worrying about the future can be a big anxiety inducer. Instead, practice mindfulness and staying in the moment. Focus on what you need to do in the next few hours or tomorrow, try to avoid worrying about next week or next month.
Focus on Flexibility
As you make plans in the new year - whether that be a vacation or a get together with friends - know that at some point those plans may have to change, be rescheduled or even canceled. If you think about these plans as what you hope to do, rather than what you will be doing, you may find that reduces anxiety and disappointment if and when things do go as scheduled.
Even if you have the best intentions to work out everyday, drink all of your water, keep up with your CME, and declutter your house - be forgiving of yourself if you don't get it all done. Focus on the tasks and little changes you are able to make. In turn, be forgiving of others who are also going through the same difficult times. While it may seem cliche, we really are in this together.